Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse – 86 Today!

Filed under: Florida News,Walt Disney World |

Steamboat Mickey at Disney's Hollywood Studios - 17 September 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Walt Disney once said: “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

It’s hard to imagine what the world would look like today without the Walt Disney Company or the characters that Walt Disney brought to us from the time he started out. Today, Mickey Mouse turns 86 and is one of Walt Disney’s most loved cartoon characters having been an integral part of virtually everyone’s childhood. He made his debut in the 1928 movie ‘Steamboat Willie’ and the iconic image of Mickey steering the ship became an important part of history. The date when the mouse first appeared on screen was 18th November and is now referred to as his birthday.

Mickey Mouse was actually created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, an earlier cartoon created by Disney for Charles Mintz, an American film producer. In the spring of 1928, Walt Disney got inspiration for Mickey Mouse from a tame mouse at his desk at Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City.  It is believed that Mickey Mouse’s first appearance was actually in a short movie ‘Plane Crazy’, a little before Steamboat Willie released. Mickey rose to the pinnacle of American culture and is said to be more widely recognized in other countries than anything else American, apart from the US flag.

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse - Disney's Hollywood Studios - 17 September 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall) Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse - Disney's Hollywood Studios - 17 September 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The two feet three inch mischievous rodent wearing white gloves and red shorts, has starred in over 130 films, including Brave Little Tailor in 1938 and Fantasia in 1940. Ten of Mickey’s cartoons have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, one of which, Lend a Paw, won the award in 1942.

Lillian Disney, Walt’s wife, was once quoted as saying that Mickey and Walt “grew together” and were “mirrors of each others personality”. Walt Disney originally wanted to call Mickey “Mortimer Mouse” until Lillian said she felt Mortimer sounded too pretentious.

On November 18, 1978, on his 50th birthday, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The first words Mickey ever spoke in a cartoon were: “hot dogs!”

Oddly, Mickey only has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, which according to Disney, was a financial and an artistic decision. “Artistically five digits are too many for a mouse. His hand would look like a bunch of bananas,” Disney stated. “Financially, not having an extra finger in each of the 45,000 drawings that make up a six-and-one-half minute short has saved the studio millions.”

Today, the company started by the mouse has over 175,000 employees worldwide and has revenues that exceed $45 Billion.

Happy Birthday Mickey…it’s been some journey!

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